Talking to vendor references is part of most contact center selection methodologies. This step in the process typically happens once the potential vendor list has been narrowed down to the top two or three.

The references the vendor provides are most likely going to be satisfied with the vendor, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth speaking with. They could still provide good insight into topics such as the implementation process, access to vendor resources and what, specifically, the vendor is doing that has them so satisfied.

Reference checks should be well planned and structured. This includes thinking through what information you want to get from the reference and then drafting the questions that will help you get that information. To make the reference call as productive as possible, share the questions with the reference in advance so they have a chance to formulate thoughtful responses and arrange to have the right people on the call.

What questions should you ask?

You’ll want to ask typical background questions about how long they’ve worked with the vendor, what industry they’re in, which services they use and contact volume. This will give you context to help you better understand the rest of the conversation, which will ideally have more substance.

To help you frame that conversation, here are 10 questions you should ask an outsourced contact center’s references:

  1. Why did you decide to outsource? What goals did you set and were those goals met?
  1. What was the implementation process like and how long was it before you felt the vendor was performing according to expectations?
  1. How well did the vendor scope out your requirements? For example, were there any contract modifications or change controls needed once you started implementing?
  1. Have you ever felt like you are competing with this vendor’s other clients for attention and resources? If so, please elaborate.
  1. Has the vendor been transparent in sharing information, both positive and negative? Are there any examples you can can provide?
  1. Can you share an example of an issue you’ve had with this vendor and what they did to correct it?
  1. Has there been any measurable change in customer satisfaction since outsourcing with this vendor? If so, please elaborate.
  1. Is there anything, good or bad, that has surprised you about this vendor? If so, please elaborate.
  1. If you had additional business to give to this vendor, would you do it?
  1. If we choose this vendor, what advice would you give us for effectively working with them?

The discussion these questions generate should help you better understand qualities about this vendor like accuracy, honesty, responsiveness and competence. With reference feedback, you will be one step closer to selecting your contact center vendor.

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